City’s Ivorian trio are on their way home after the Elephants lost 2-1 to Nigeria in the quarter finals of the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Ivory Coast were unbeaten in the competition before the game, but the tournament favourites had stuttered to a 2-2 draw against Algeria last time out in their final group match, with a much-rotated side.
Coach Sabri Lamouchi returned to his strongest XI, which meant Yaya Toure regained his place in midfield while Blues pair Kolo Toure and Abdul Razak took their seats on the bench.
But it was Nigeria who took the lead, Emmanuel Emenike scoring just before half time. Newcastle man Cheik Tiote equalised for Ivory Coast, but the Super Eagles got the winner through Sunday Mba in the 78th minute.
Although the Elephants made what appeared to be easy work of their group, beating Togo and Tunisia before the draw with the Desert Foxes, they once more failed to live up to expectations, producing a mediocre performance against Togo and allowing Algeria to gain a two goal advantage before coming back to seal a point.
Today’s defeat ensures the Ivory Coast are still searching for their second Africa Cup of Nations title, after securing the first in 1992, while this Elephants ‘golden generation’ continues to strive for the trophies its talent predicted.
Nigeria advance to play Mali in the semi final, who knocked out hosts South Africa on penalties.